Image

4:49 PM / Wednesday February 19, 2020

8 Nov 2010

Bishop Long denies abuse allegations in filing

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
November 8, 2010 Category: Week In Review Posted by:

By Greg Bluestein

Associated Press

 

ATLANTA — The megachurch pastor accused of luring four young men into sexual relationships categorically denied the allegations for the first time in a court filing last Monday, saying he was only a mentor to the men who filed civil lawsuits against him.

 

Bishop Eddie Long has for weeks vowed he would fight the lawsuits in court, and promised in church sermons he would not let the legal troubles prevent him from doing its work. While his attorney has denied the allegations on his behalf, Long had not refuted them publicly until he filed his legal response. He said in the filing that each of the “claims of sexual misconduct are not true.”

Image

 

The men, who were 17 and 18 at the time, say Long abused his spiritual authority to lure them into trysts with cars, jewelry and cash. Their attorney B.J. Bernstein said she doesn’t have much physical evidence backing up the complaints, but that she plans to subpoena records from Long that will show he traveled with the young men to New Zealand and elsewhere.

 

Bernstein declined to comment because she had not yet received the response.

 

Long, though, said in the four separate documents that he often encouraged his New Birth Missionary Church members to call him “daddy” and that some even called him “grandaddy,” but that the term was a sign of respect.

 

The bishop also said in the documents that he has long shared rooms with some of his church members, and that his parishioners often hug him. And while he admitted to giving the plaintiffs gifts, he said he often provided many members of his church with financial assistance.

 

Long became one of the nation’s most powerful church leaders over the past two decades, transforming a suburban Atlanta congregation of 150 into a powerhouse of 25,000 members that includes high-profile athletes, entertainers and politicians.

 

The bishop is a father of four who has been an outspoken opponent of gay marriage and his church has counseled gay members to become straight. But the TV preacher’s empire was threatened in September when the four men filed the lawsuits.

 

Two of the young men say he targeted them after they enrolled in the church’s LongFellows Youth Academy, a program that taught teens about sexual, physical and financial discipline. The other two — one of whom attended a satellite church in Charlotte, N.C. — have made similar claims.

 

Local and state authorities have declined to investigate because Georgia’s age of consent is 16. And Long, for his part, has promised in church sermons that he would not let his legal troubles prevent him or his church from doing its work.

 

“I feel like David against Goliath,” he said in a sermon in September. “But I got five rocks, and I haven’t thrown one yet.”

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Leave a Comment

Recent News

Commentary

Black History Month and telling the (whole) story

February 14, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email By Paul Robeson Ford  baptistnews.com At least we get an extra day this...

Diaspora

Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder Joseph Shabalala dies at 78

February 14, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email By Mogomotsi Magome ASSOCIATED PRESS  JOHANNESBURG  — The founder of the South African...

Oasis

72% of U.S. pastors concerned about ‘watered-down gospel’

February 14, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email By Stephanie Martin  churchnews.com In a new study that kicks off its “State...

Entertainment

Director Tom McCarthy and lead actor Winslow Fegley discuss ‘Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made’

February 16, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email By Kharisma McIlwaine  The new Disney Plus film “Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made”...

Sun Report

A victory, a caution: Takeaways from New Hampshire’s primary

February 14, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., greets supporters at a...

Horoscopes

SUNscopes for the week of Feb. 16

February 14, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email All Signs: This week the two celestial bodies that most affect our energy...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff